Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about goals – maybe it’s the winter approaching and my need for status that has brought this on – who knows.
The need for goals, measurable targets, end destinations to plan my journeys both in life and my creative work, is a theme for me. I don’t know how you feel about it, but I guess it’s something quite universal. The: when I’m done with ___ (fill in the blank) I’ll be, have, feel better, happy, rich… The satisfaction of reaching our goals are, well satisfying.
But then what?
Then we start all over again! That is, if we ever reach that goal we set in the first place. Because my experience tells me that usually the goal changes during the process, the journey always has surprise detours and we run into challenges that are beyond our own control.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t set goals – I absolutely believe in goal setting, in the importance of having something to aim for. A target to steer you in the right direction. That, in my book is a thousand times better than running round like a headless chicken, not knowing what the next step is, where you want to be. Intention-less.
What I’m getting at is the attitude towards reaching the goal, or rather the attitude towards the journey, the process that will make your goal happen.
What if we saw goals more as aims, but didn’t get too hung up on the form or the specifics of it. What if we instead focused more on the journey – made the journey the goal. Accepted that it was okay for the goal to always be blurry, to change. Or that the goal was just a stop on the way towards new things.
These aren’t ground breaking thoughts, I know – but in terms of creative work, I think there’s something in here to learn, something to think about when we look at the body of work we produce.
Instead of thinking about our work in terms of projects that are finished, how about we thought about them as an ongoing process.
Maybe it would be easier to slow down, enjoy the ride and not get too hung up on the metrics, the specifics, the perfect finish – but we could be satisfied with getting to that point, that stop on the journey? Knowing that with the experiences of the process we could do a different, better job next time, but without it we would be right back where we started.